“Culture is the core of my brand” – Interview with a fashion designer Amy Newton

June 25, 2015 10:22 am

“Founder of CULTRO Amy Newton was born in London UK and has been an NYC native for the last 7 years. She has always celebrated the spirit of diverse cultures and, being a true city girl, wanted to bring those two aspects together. CULTRO clothing signifies a cultural and metropolitan contemporary style” – I spoke with Amy about her brand, recent fashion trends in England and America, and her plans for upcoming future.

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Piotr Balkus: Your fashion brand, CULTRO, is only for women. Why?

Amy Newton: I wanted to start with a Women’s Fashion House because I am passionate about the female silhouette. Being a woman myself, it’s closest to my heart and I feel that I really understand a female POV on the need for comfort and style. As culture is the core of my brand, my designs embody a lot of bold colors and graphic prints, which women are more prone to wearing on a daily basis vs. men. That said, some of my Fall 15 Copenhagen Collection is viewed as androgynous. I would definitely consider including menswear under the CULTRO umbrella in the future.

Sometimes I have a feeling that fashion is pretty much all about women. Is that the opinion you’d agree with?

It feels this way because women spend more time shopping than men and we also spend more per trip than men. Due to this, companies cater to women in advertising and marketing campaigns. Also, we all know that sex sells so including beautiful women on these campaigns is going to do more for your business than not. From a designer perspective, I think women’s clothes have a greater ability to be creative and beautiful. In my opinion, a nicely tailored pant suit cannot compare to a beautiful couture gown.

When I look at Cultro clothes, I see very vivid colours. Do you think colours in fashion are more important nowadays than classic black?

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I don’t think colours are “more important”. It really depends on your own taste and comfort level. Black is and always will be very chic. I like to have a bit more fun with my fashion, incorporating bold colours, novelty textures and even embellishment.

I would say that you actually avoid black colour in your collections. How you would explain it?

I would disagree. My Fall 15 collection has a lot of black in it. I definitely lean more towards color in the Spring and Summer. I like to create happy, vibrant and thrilling collections. Your fashion should be an expression of how you feel on any given day. For Spring/Summer 2016 (which I am working on right now), I have included 3 black base fabrics. If you are not feeling colourful inside during the Spring or Summer you will have the opportunity to wear black, combined with other novelty fabrics to still give you that CULTRO edge.

Cultro dresses and skirts cost around $250-$300 each. Have you ever thought about “going Primark” and lower prices to make them affordable for less wealthy customers? Or opposite – putting prices up and making the brand exclusive?

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Ah Primark. That brings back memories of my younger days (laughter)… My answer is no, I have not considered making my pieces this cheap for a few reasons. Firstly, the only way to achieve this kind of price point is to gain economies of scale with manufacturing overseas and sourcing very cheap fabric. Unless your volume is that of a popular high street shop, it’s not really feasible for emerging designers that are growing slowly, to do their production overseas to the point that they would achieve discounted pricing and special treatment from the factories. I also pride myself in picking fabric that I would be proud to wear myself as a women in her 30’s and fabric that is durable. If I wouldn’t wear it and it won’t last past 3 dry cleans/washes, I won’t use it in my collection. And secondly, I find that consumers are only comfortable spending money against clothes that are “name brand”. Often times the quality of these clothes are arguably just as good (or in some cases, not as good) as an emerging designer’s fabric choice and construction. Some consumers seem ok with forgoing design innovation, quality and uniqueness for a well-known brand name. I also think the state of the economy plays a huge part in what people are willing to pay for their clothes in 2015, as the more unique the clothes, the more expensive they are. I want my clothes to be affordable and valued.

You were born in London, but now live in New York. Is American fashion and fashion industry much different than British one?

I actually only started my career in fashion when I moved to New York, so I can’t comment on the British fashion scene. What I will say is in the US, comfort is key. Americans tend to spend more on comfy, casual clothes whereas Europeans will spend more on “occasion pieces” on a more frequent basis. I noticed this even in my own shopping habits. When I lived in London, I was constantly buying fancy dresses and tops. That pretty much stopped when I moved to New York as people don’t dress up as much in bars/lounges here as they do in London.

Visit CULTRO website for more: http://www.cultroclothing.com

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